Friday, March 18, 2011

Church Hurt

Three years ago, God kicked our family out of a Baptist church.  And I'm not talking a soft gentle kick.  I'm talking a steel-toed boot kick that came completely out of the blue.  One minute everything was fine and wonderful, and the next minute we were being escorted to our car by the deacons.

Two days after being kicked out...
It's a pretty unbelievable situation.  When we tell people that we were kicked out of a church, there is almost always a look of shock on their face, and then you can see the questions in their eyes.  But most people won't ask why.  I think that people are afraid of the answer.  I mean, if someone is actually kicked out of a church, it must be because they murdered or stole from the offering or slept with the pastor or something equally as scandalous.  We didn't do any of those things.  It was as confusing to us as it is to everyone else.

I remember driving home that night.  The tires crunched on the gravel and the car was silent.  The kids (we had three at the time) didn't know what was going on, but I think somehow they knew to be quiet (or maybe I just didn't notice them).  Ray and I didn't speak until after we were out of the parking lot.  And then my tears started.  The gasping, aching, wrenching tears.  The tears of disbelief and confusion and anger and sorrow.

The church, afterall, was our family.  We had loved and invested in these people who had just spewed hate and accusation at us.  And the next few days would prove to be even more difficult as people we loved rejected our phone calls and cut off all communication with us.

Ray made us go to Wednesday night church just three days later.  I didn't want to go at all, and I rebelled by wearing a messy ponytail and refusing to dress up.  I remember nothing about that service.  I don't remember the people or the message or the music or anything.  I was angry at God, and I probably sat with a chip on my shoulder refusing to take part in the service.

God had such an incredible plan for our family.  The three years since that life-altering meeting have held a lot of change for us.  We've added two kids, attended and left another church, and by the grace of God our marriage has been completely transformed.  God has brought us full circle.  Instead of sitting with a chip on my shoulder, on Sunday I was blessed to sit in that same room listening to my husband teach the Word of God to a room full of friends.  Our new family.

Even after 3 years, though, my heart still aches a little when I think about the whole thing.  I still get shaky and sweaty when I run into someone from our old church at the grocery store.  I still have major trust issues when it comes to church leadership.  I often wonder how our old friends are, and if they ever think about us.

It doesn't matter though.

Because God is good all the time.  He is just as good on the days that tears flow as He is on the days filled with laughter.  His character doesn't change when our circumstances are difficult.  He has my best interests in mind even when I can't comprehend the situation.  He has never betrayed me or failed me.  He loves me.

3 comments:

  1. Laura, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. Even though our situation isn't nearly that bad, I can certainly empathize with the pain you felt after leaving your church family. Something similar happened to a good friend of mine from KC. Her and her hubby were basically asked to leave their church. It's sad when Christians behave that way to one another. It should not be so. I'm so happy to know that you are blessed in a new church home. Thanks for the encouragement! We needed it today as we try to figure out just exactly where we will be on Sunday morning.

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  2. Where's my comment?

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  3. I did this yesterday. I said something like "sweet and beautiful and brave."

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